Parry, Joseph (DNB00)


PARRY, JOSEPH (1744–1826), artist, born in Liverpool in 1744, was son of a master-pilot of that port who was owner of a pilot-boat called Old No. 5. He was apprenticed to a ship and house painter in Liverpool, but during the intervals of his work he devoted himself to the study of art, and when out of his time at once practised as a professional artist, painting with great energy and perseverance. In 1790 he removed to Manchester, where he was fortunate in finding appreciative patrons. He is often called the father of art in that town, and undoubtedly his work exercised considerable influence in a place where, up to that time, the practice of art had been almost exclusively confined to those who paid short visits during their provincial tours. He continued to reside at Manchester till his death in 1826, when he left four sons, two of whom practised as artists, and are noticed below.

Parry's best pictures are familiar scenes of everyday life, such as ‘The Old Market Place and Shambles at Manchester,’ a small, highly finished oil-painting, full of figures, in the possession of Robert Dauntesey, esq., of Agecroft Hall, and the ‘Old Bridge,’ Manchester, pulled down in 1837, the property of the Royal Salford Museum. He also painted for a Liverpool gentleman ‘Eccles Wakes,’ which contained two hundred figures, all separate studies from nature. A small pamphlet was written about this picture. Parry had considerable practice as a portrait-painter, and painted some large historical compositions in the style then in fashion, together with pictures of shipping and landscapes. He etched an excellent half-length portrait of himself seated at an easel. Only ten impressions were taken, of which one, in an exceedingly fine state, is in the writer's collection.

A younger son of Joseph Parry, James Parry (d. 1871?), was represented by three works in the first exhibition of the Royal Manchester Institution in 1827—a landscape, a portrait, and a figure-picture—and he continued to exhibit similar works till 1856. His address, with the exception of the first few years, was 5 Grove Street, Gartside Street. His portrait, Kitcat size, which was painted by himself in oil, is in the Royal Salford Museum. He engraved most of the plates in Corry's ‘History of Lancashire,’ 1825, many of them from his own drawings. One of these, in Indian ink, ‘The Manchester Exchange,’ is in the possession of the writer. He also drew and engraved ‘View of Manchester from Strawberry Hill,’ published in 1818, and in 1821 ‘Manchester College,’ and a view of the ‘Collegiate Church.’ He engraved many plates from his own, his brother's, and other artists' work. He died in Manchester about 1871.

Joseph's second son, David Henry Parry (1793–1826), born in Manchester on 7 June 1793, studied from an early age in his father's studio, and soon gained for himself a reputation as a portrait-painter. His local success encouraged him to remove to London in May 1826, and he had already received several good commissions, when he died on 15 Sept. 1826. He was buried in the churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields. He married in 1816 Elizabeth Smallwood of Macclesfield, who, with her three sons, survived him. He painted both in oils and water-colours. Among many excellent portraits by him of Manchester worthies may be mentioned those of Dr. John Hull, F.L.S., which was engraved, and of the Rev. W. Roby, engraved by S. W. Reynolds. His grandson, Mr. D. H. Parry, owns a family group in chalks by him, consisting of portraits of his father and mother, himself, wife, and two children; as well as a large portrait in oil of himself and his son William Titian.

D. H. Parry's youngest son, Charles James Parry (1824–1894), born in 1824, was educated at the Manchester grammar school, and at an early age was placed in a woollen business. As an amateur he painted from an early period landscapes in oil, for which he found a ready sale. He died in London on 18 Dec. 1894. He married Alice, youngest daughter of Thomas Southern of Wheathill, Salford, and left two sons—Charles James, who practises as a landscape and sea painter, and David Henry, a painter of military subjects and a writer.

[Authorities cited above; Notes and Queries in Manchester City News, Nos. 6160 et seq.; information kindly supplied by Mr. D. H. Parry the younger.]

A. N.